Shadow corrosion is reproduced in University of Michigan lab

January 14, 2022, 9:36AMNuclear News
[CLICK TO VIEW FULL IMAGE] The diagram at left illustrates the experimental setup and the resulting zirconium oxide layer of varying thickness. The second diagram shows the circular zirconium alloy sample that is affected by the band of nickel alloy and radiation. Finally, the electron image at right shows a band of oxidation on the zirconium alloy sample. (Images: Peng Wang, Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory)

A longstanding issue in boiling water reactors—shadow corrosion on zirconium alloy fuel rods and fuel channels—has been reproduced in the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory as part of an effort to understand and prevent the phenomenon. Research led by Peng Wang, a University of Michigan assistant research scientist in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, was published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Materials and described in a recent university news article.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

December 21, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

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GEH’s BWRX-300 SMR technology chosen for Darlington clean energy project

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has been selected by Ontario Power Generation as technology partner for the Darlington site's new nuclear plant project. GEH will work with OPG to deploy a BWRX-300 small modular reactor as early as 2028 at the Darlington site in Canada.

■ NuScale Power and Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the deployment of NuScale VOYGR power plants in Kazakhstan. KNPP specializes in the development of nuclear power plant construction in Kazakhstan. The agreement calls for a sharing of nuclear and technical expertise between NuScale and KNPP. Under the MOU, NuScale will support KNPP’s evaluation of NuScale’s SMR technology, including nuclear power plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work.

PKN ORLEN and Synthos Green Energy have signed an agreement to set up a joint venture, ORLEN Synthos Green Energy, with a goal to prepare and commercialize small nuclear reactor technology, particularly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 reactors, in Poland. Related, BWXT Canada Ltd. signed a letter of intent with Synthos and GEH for the manufacture of key SMR components for Poland.

Advisory board established for French SMR development

December 9, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Click to see full image. Concept art for the NUWARD small modular reactor. (Image: TechnicAtome)

Électricité de France recently announced the formation of an advisory board for NUWARD, France’s small modular reactor project. According to the company, the establishment of the International NUWARD Advisory Board (INAB) is a major step forward in support of the technology’s development.

Nuclear fuel considerations in the development of advanced reactors

December 8, 2021, 12:04PMNuclear NewsGary Mignogna

Mignogna

The world faces an urgent need to decarbonize and expand clean energy systems. Earlier this year, the United States announced goals to achieve a 100 percent clean electricity grid by 2035 and net-zero emissions across the entire economy by 2050. Today, nuclear energy plants provide more than 50 percent of the United States’ carbon-free energy. Existing plants, along with the advanced technologies currently being developed and demonstrated, are crucial to the United States’ and the world’s clean energy future.

Technologies such as advanced non-light water reactors, which have higher operating temperatures than today’s light water reactors, will be vital to meeting economy-wide decarbonization goals. For example, process heat applications and chemical and synthetic fuel production require higher temperatures and currently rely on fossil fuels. Advanced reactors are the only carbon-free technologies that can provide the high temperatures these processes need.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

December 6, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Prodigy Clean Energy and Kinectrics to explore and inform the development of a regulatory framework to address the licensing and deployment of a marine power station (MPS). The MPS would integrate one to 12 NuScale power modules into a marine-based nuclear power plant system. The MPS would be shipyard-fabricated and marine-transported to its deployment location, where it would be moored in place in sheltered and protected waters at the shoreline. Prodigy is Canada’s first commercial marine nuclear power developer, specializing in integrating existing power reactors into stationary-deployed marine power plant structures. Kinectrics provides life-cycle management services to the electricity industry.

First complete accident tolerant fuel assembly in operation at Calvert Cliffs

November 9, 2021, 3:32PMNuclear News
Framatome’s PROtect accident tolerant fuel assembly undergoes final inspection before delivery to Exelon’s Calvert Cliffs-2 in Lusby, Md.

The nuclear industry’s first 100 percent accident tolerant fuel assembly is in operation at Exelon Generation’s Calvert Cliffs plant, the Department of Energy announced yesterday. The advanced fuel will operate in the reactor for the next four to six years and will be routinely inspected to monitor its performance, the DOE said.

Located in Lusby, Md., Calvert Cliffs houses two pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 is rated at 907 Mwe, and Unit 2 at 881 Mwe.

Framatome completes acquisition of Rolls-Royce I&C business

November 9, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
More than 550 employees will join Framatome as part of its acquisition of Rolls-Royce’s I&C business. (Photo: Business Wire)

French nuclear reactor company Framatome has completed its purchase of Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear Instrumentation and Control. Framatome announced in December 2020 that it had agreed to acquire Rolls-Royce’s I&C business, which has operations in France, the Czech Republic, and China.

According to Framatome, the transaction builds on the company’s engineering expertise, enlarges its industrial footprint, and expands its global I&C systems development and deployment capabilities.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

October 14, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings over the course of the past month:

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Ukraine’s Energoatom signs deals for nuclear power exploration and deployment

Energoatom, the state-owned nuclear utility of Ukraine, and Westinghouse Electric Company have signed an agreement to bring Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to multiple sites in Ukraine. The signing took place at the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., and was witnessed by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Ukraine’s energy minister German Galushchenko.

In addition, Energoatom signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power to explore small modular reactor deployment in Ukraine. Under the MOU, NuScale will support Energoatom’s examination of NuScale’s SMR technology, including a feasibility study for proposed project sites and the development of a project timeline and deliverables, cost studies, technical reviews, licensing and permitting activities, and project-specific engineering studies and design work.

Framatome signs MOU to advance nuclear technology in Hungary

October 8, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Balázs Bodnár, managing director of Framatome Hungary (left), shakes hands with Habil István András, rector of the University of Dunaújváros, joined by Ferenc Berki, president and CEO of Hunatom. (Photo: Framatome)

The Hungarian office of Framatome this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Budapest-based research and economic development company Hunatom and the University of Dunaújváros to work together supporting nuclear education and training, research and development, and implementation of new technologies for Hungary and surrounding countries.

Representatives of the three organizations signed the MOU during a ceremony at Hungary’s University of Dunaújváros, about 40 miles south of Budapest.

Bruce-6 gets first of eight new steam generators

October 4, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear News
Bruce nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada. (Photo: Bruce Power)

The first of eight 160-ton steam generators for Unit 6 at Canada’s Bruce nuclear power plant was installed last week as part of the facility’s major component replacement project. “Congrats to the MCR team and our partners, including @AeconGroup, @Framatome_CA, @UEandC, @mammoetglobal, @BWXT, and others who contributed to this historic moment,” Bruce Power tweeted on September 30.

The component was fabricated at BWXT Canada’s Cambridge, Ontario, location and was shipped to the Bruce site in late 2020, as shown in this video.

The vendor responsible for generator removal is the Steam Generator Replacement Team (SGRT), a 50-50 joint venture between Aecon and the Steam Generating Team, itself a partnership between Framatome and United Engineers & Constructors. In July, Framatome announced that SGRT had been awarded an approximately C$350 million (about $278 million) contract by Bruce Power to replace the steam generators at Units 3 and 4.

First major component removed at Bruce-6

July 28, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
A crane removes the first of the Unit 6 steam generators on July 23. (Photo: Bruce Power)

Bruce Power has removed the first of eight steam generators from Unit 6 at the Bruce nuclear plant in Ontario, the company announced earlier this week. The work was done as part of the facility’s major component replacement (MCR) project.

EDF: Taishan’s “evolving” fuel failure would merit a shutdown and assessment in France

July 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Taishan nuclear power plant. (Photo: EDF Energy)

If Taishan-1 were operating in France, Électricité de France would shut down the reactor in order to assess the situation in progress and stop its development, according to a July 22 press release from EDF. The 1,660-MWe French-designed EPR—the recent subject of sensational press coverage of fuel rod failures—operates in China’s Guangdong Province.

Taishan spent three days in the spotlight: What can we learn?

July 16, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier
Taishan’s Unit 1 was the world’s first EPR to be connected to the grid. (Photo: CGN)

The facts, once known, were uncomplicated. At Taishan-1 in China—the first Framatome EPR to be commissioned—operators detected an increase of fission product gases within the primary coolant circuit sometime after the reactor’s first refueling outage in October 2020. The cladding on a handful of the more than 60,000 fuel rods in the reactor had been breached, posing an operational issue—but not a public safety issue—for the plant.

Framatome helps advance use of robotics in nuclear D&D

May 19, 2021, 7:03AMRadwaste Solutions
Using Framatome’s technology, Germany’s VIRERO project is developing a robotic system for sorting and packaging radioactive waste. (Photo: Framatome)

Paving the way for increased automation in nuclear decontamination and decommissioning and waste management, French nuclear company Framatome announced that testing has confirmed the operation of its robotic systems for handling and sorting high-dose waste components.

Browns Ferry-2 outage to include turbine work, loading of 3D-printed parts

March 2, 2021, 12:04PMNuclear News

A replacement rotor is lifted and staged for the upcoming Browns Ferry-2 turbine work. Photo: TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority has begun a refueling and maintenance outage at Browns Ferry-2 that includes the largest scope of turbine deck work since the unit’s construction, as well as innovations in fuel assembly components, the utility announced on March 1.

On deck: All three of the 1,254.7-MWe boiling water reactor’s low-pressure turbines will undergo a comprehensive replacement of major components, including new rotors, inner casings, steam piping and bellows, and turbine supervisory instruments, requiring the support of more than 500 additional outage workers. TVA said that 600 crane lifts will need to be performed for some components, such as the rotors, which weigh up to 327,888 lb., and inner casings, which weigh up to 200,000 lb.

Framatome declares ATF test at Vogtle a success

February 8, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

The $111.2 million in financial assistance awarded by the Department of Energy in late 2018 to nuclear fuel developers Framatome, General Electric, and Westinghouse for the development of accident tolerant fuel has yielded some encouraging results.

Framatome reports that the first 18-month fuel cycle test of its GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) technology, conducted at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle-2, has “demonstrated expected results and excellent performance.”

And last month, Westinghouse announced that the topical report on its Advanced Doped Pellet Technology fuel has been accepted for review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling the decision “a major achievement for the advanced fuel portfolio Westinghouse is developing.”

Fuel innovation: Powering nuclear modernization

January 18, 2021, 9:35AMNuclear NewsBen Holtzman

Today’s U.S. commercial nuclear power plants are fueled with uranium dioxide pressed into cylindrical ceramic pellets—and have been for decades. These pellets are stacked inside long fuel rods made of a zirconium alloy cladding. Innovation in nuclear fuel, however, can improve safety, reduce operating costs, and further enable the development of a new generation of non-light-water reactors.